Discuss the benefits and concerns of genetic engineering.

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Discuss the benefits and concerns of genetic engineering.

Genetic engineering, or genetic modification, is the process in which genes can be transferred to the cells of animals and plants, at an early state of their development, so they develop desired characteristics. First of all you take the desired gene from one organism, using enzymes to isolate the gene, and then transfer this gene to the genetic material of a completely different organism. The gene is inserted into a vector (usually a bacterial plasmid or a virus), and this vector is used to insert the gene into the different organism. This concept is used in insulin production, which is needed by people who suffer with diabetes. Genetic engineering has many potential advantages, such as being able to produce organisms with desired characteristics quickly, for example in plant laboratories, but on the other hand, it’s expensive, and there are potential risks, like the possibility of the plants mutating in a dangerous way.
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Crops that have had their genes modified are known as genetically modified (GM) crops. GM crops give increased yields. Increasing crop yields is especially important; it provides food security for a constantly growing world population, and also the farmer can make more money! Plants can be made resistant to attack by insects because they have been modified to produce their own pesticides. Also plants can be made more resistant that usual to some weed killers, which means it’s easier for farmers to spray and kill weeds without damaging their own crops. Less weeds means more nutrients, water, and ...

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